Isabel At Sunset - Meet The Gang
Album Review

Isabel At Sunset – Meet The Gang

Isabel at Sunset are one of those strange cases of a band sounding very British despite not actually being dwellers of our Majesty’s fine lands. Cut Off Your Hands hold the record for “Most Miles Away But Still Sounding Like They’ve Grown Up In Surrey On A Diet Of The Cure“, hailing from New Zealand. Then there’s Interpol. Undoubtedly British sound (and dress code), but born and raised across the pond. Now we’ve got Isabel at Sunset, from the fine lands of Parma, Italy. Despite being surrounded by wonderful countryside, gorgeous wine and even more gorgeous girls, IAS manage to sound like spent their days stuck in a garage in Swindon/Luton/insert non-descript English town, and, hell, they sound all the better for it.

Their debut offering ‘Meet The Gang!’ might as well come with a Ronsil ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ advertisement. It’s a biographical (although sometimes seemingly fabricated) look at Isabel at Sunset, with every track telling a weird and wonderful tale of the bands formation. No better example of autobiographical songsmithery is “Kevin Keyboards & The Wannabe Indie Stars”, describing the band members accompanied with “a bunch of drinks…it sounds good mate!”. It’s the sort of endlessly fun indie pop songs that make this album a real treat. Opener, “Hey Dude” boasts woops and cheers throughout, with a twingling country guitar part, highlighting what fun being in a band can be.

Many songs on the album are a throw back to the late 90s British Indie scene. Stereophonic’s punchy tales of growing up in south Wales are replaced with witty mis-translated random Anglo-Italian sound bites. “Parasites” nods towards the more anthemic contours ’big in Europe’ Brits The Servant used to dish out, passing through the quiet guitary acoustics through sparkly noise to a more rocking cresendo.

“Trucks n Cars” delivers the ‘life on the road’ scenario, again adding to the diary feel of the album. We are told “I wanna play again tonight”, something that all aspiring musicians can relate too. The song also spouts the running rant present throughout the album, “I need some fucking extra time”. This reflective appeal to record bosses/sound tech/studio numpties is again a feeling many budding rock stars will share. Penultimate tune “Still Waiting” is an enlightening instrumental, showing the bands more rocky side, with the album closer, “Just Me In The Mirror”, an acoustic reflective and questioning offering, seeing vocalist Alain open his heart for one and all to view.

“Meet The Gang!” is an album that shows many different sides to a band still in their early life. Their tales of life in the band are warming and truthful, but also funny and quirky. The irrelevant natterings are what make Isabel at Sunset so appealing, deciphering the sometime lost-in-translation lyrics to discover some heart-warming and touching vocals. Give it time, as it’s not the type of album that will hit you with ready-made pop songs, but rather lures and seduces with magnificent song writing and structures. “Meet The Gang!“ is a timeless, genre-crossing debut record, that, in time, will have you singing and dancing with the rest of us.

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